Back to Top Skip to main content

Four tips for staying healthy this holiday season

The simple act of washing your hands will decrease the risk of illness for you and your family this holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante) The simple act of washing your hands will decrease the risk of illness for you and your family this holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante)

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Integrative Wellness | Mental Wellness

The Military Health System can’t guarantee you’ll have a holly, jolly holiday season. But following these health and wellness tips may help make this the best time of the year.

Wash your hands. 

It’s simple but powerful advice, not only to avoid getting sick but to avoid spreading germs, said Dr. Terry Adirim, a pediatric emergency physician and deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Health Services Policy and Oversight.

“At the very least, you should wash your hands before handling food, before eating, and after using the bathroom,” she said. Other activities that call for hand-washing afterward include changing a diaper, caring for someone who’s sick, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands, and touching a pet or other animal.

For the most effective technique, Adirim passed along this advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC: Turn on the tap to wet hands – cold water works as well as warm – then turn it off. Apply soap, and rub your hands together to create lather. Keep at it long enough to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while scrubbing the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Turn the water back on to rinse off the soap, and then dry.

Keep food hot, or cold. 

Temperature plays a critical role in preventing the bacteria and viruses that cause foodborne illnesses, said Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Donald Smith, a Veterinary Corps food safety officer with the Defense Health Agency.

Smith recommends using a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and other cooked foods is high enough to kill germs. For both hot and cold foods in the holiday spread, make sure any leftovers are stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers within two hours, he said.

Limit drinking. 

“Alcohol should be something you perhaps enjoy for a special occasion,” such as a glass of champagne to ring in the New Year or a glass of wine with a holiday meal, said Army Maj. Kathryn Berryman, a physician at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. But too much alcohol can lead to risky behaviors that endanger well-being, such as getting behind the wheel or engaging in unprotected sex.

Too much alcohol also leads to long-term health problems including heart disease and cancer. “The more you drink, the more quickly you become physically dependent and also build a tolerance,” Berryman said.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, or NIAAA, defines one drink as 12 ounces of beer with 5 percent alcohol content, 5 ounces of wine with 12 percent alcohol content, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits with 40 percent alcohol content.

According to the NIAAA, low-risk drinking for men is no more than four drinks on a single day, and no more than 14 drinks per week. For women, it’s three drinks on a single day, and seven drinks per week. The numbers for women are lower because body composition and other factors typically cause women to feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than men.

Low-risk drinking doesn’t mean no risk, according to the NIAAA. People who stick to these guidelines still may have problems if they drink too quickly, have other health concerns, or are older than 60. Also, mixing alcohol with prescription and over-the-counter medications can be deadly.

Take a walk in the woods.

Exercise burns calories and helps clear the mind, and being around nature may be an added boost. Patricia Deuster, director of the USU Consortium for Health and Military Performance, is lead investigator of a team of researchers exploring whether nature has healing powers.

“I’ve always relieved my stress by going outside,” said Deuster, a nationally ranked marathoner, skydiver, and former tennis pro. “I spend time in nature every day. I know how healing it is for me, how it makes me relax and forget about all the stressful stuff.”

You also may be interested in...

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 4 – June 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Risk factor analysis (part I), hospitalizations, OJE; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, May 1997; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, May 1997; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Brown recluse spider bites among infantry trainees; STD trends, risk correlates and recurrences; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 3 – April 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Editorial Comment; Hospitalizations and non-effective days, 1996; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, March 1997; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, March 1997; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Completeness and timeliness of required disease reporting; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; ARD surveillance update; Supplement #1: Hospitalization Summary, 1996; Active duty hospitalizations; Active duty hospitalization rates; Total active duty hospital sick days; Non-effective rates, active duty hospitalizations; Sentinel reportable diseases, 1996 (vs. 1995); Supplement #2: Reportable Diseases Summary, 1996; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 1996; All reportable conditions, 1996; Force strength (December 1996).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 2 – March 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Pneumonia among active duty soldiers 1990-1996; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Group A beta hemolytic streptococcus among trainees; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; Influenza at Aberdeen Proving Ground; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 3 No. 1 – January 1997

Report
1/1/1997

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Gastroenteritis outbreaks among military trainees; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; Tetanus, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Supplement: Notifiable conditions Jan - Dec 1996; Notifiable conditions reported through MSS; Heat / Cold weather injuries; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Cold weather training guidelines; ARD surveillance update; Force strength (September 1996); Cold weather injuries in active duty soldiers.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 2 No. 10 – December 1996

Report
1/1/1996

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Overview of military respiratory disease surveillance; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; ARD surveillance among Army basic trainees; Air Force Influenza Surveillance Program; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; ARD surveillance update; Reported heat and cold weather injuries; Force Strength (June, 1996).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 2 No. 9 – November 1996

Report
1/1/1996

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Shigella sonnei diarrheal outbreaks; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; TB Skin Test Converters, Ft. Leavenworth; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 2 No. 8 – October 1996

Report
1/1/1996

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Vivax malaria in U.S. forces – Korea; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Diarrhea outbreak – Croatia; 1996-97 Influenza immunization guidelines; ARD surveillance update; Supplement: Notifiable conditions Jan - Sep 1996; Notifiable conditions reported through MSS; Heat / Cold weather injuries; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 2 No. 7 – September 1996

Report
1/1/1996

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Rash illness outbreak among British Soldiers; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Leptospirosis - Tripler Army Medical Center; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 2 No. 6 – July 1996

Report
1/1/1996

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Hookworm Disease - Ft. Drum, NY; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Malaria Outbreak, Vincenza, Italy; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; Heat / Cold weather injuries, Jan - Jun, 1996; Supplement: HIV-1 in the Army; Status of HIV-1 infected patients; Active duty soldiers infected with HIV-1; Prevalence of HIV-1, civilian applicants; HIV-1 testing program, 1985 – 1995; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 2 No. 5 – May 1996

Report
1/1/1996

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Listeria monocytogenes meningitis, Ft. Bragg; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Strongyloides stercoralis hyperinfection; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; Kawasaki Disease, Tripler Army Medical Center; Heat / Cold weather injuries, Jan - Apr, 1996; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 2 No. 4 – April 1996

Report
1/1/1996

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Rash outbreaks, U.S. forces operating in Belgium; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Injuries and fitness in BCT units, FLW, MO; Surveillance trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI hospitalizations; Shigellosis case reports, WRAMC; ARD surveillance update; Supplement #1: 1995 Hospitalization Summary; Active duty hospitalizations; Hospitalization rates; Total hospital sickdays; Non-effective rates; Supplement #2: 1995 Reportable Disease Summary; All notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Force strength (December 1995).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 2 No. 3 – March 1996

Report
1/1/1996

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, WRAMC; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Preliminary data: HEARS; Leprosy in a Navy family member, Ft Hood; Surveillance Trends: Hospitalization rates, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI Hospitalizations; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 2 No. 2 – February 1996

Report
1/1/1996

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Injuries in integrated BCT units, FLW, MO; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Cold weather injuries, Ft. Drum, NY; Surveillance Trends: Hospitalizations, Bosnia; Bosnia update: DNBI Hospitalizations; TB skin test results, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 2 No. 1 – January 1996

Report
1/1/1996

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Cold Weather Injuries, Oct - Dec, 1995; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis – WRAMC; Surveillance Trends: CWI hospitalization rates; Hepatitis A in a SF Unit, Ft Lewis, WA; Supplement: Notifiable conditions Jan - Dec 1995; Notifiable conditions reported through MSS; Heat / Cold weather injuries; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; ARD surveillance update; Force strength (September 1995).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 1 No. 2 – May 1995

Report
1/1/1995

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Tularemia case report; ARD surveillance update; Rubella outbreak in German troops, Ft. Bragg; Selected notifiable conditions; Notifiable sexually transmitted diseases; Injury hospitalizations, ODS; Top ten corner: Disability evaluations.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health
<< < ... 21 22 23 24 25 > >> 
Showing results 346 - 360 Page 24 of 25

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.